When COVID-19 struck and the call came for volunteers to join the dormitory medical post team, I hesitated. The fight against an unseen enemy was daunting and I wasn’t sure that I could stand strong. However, as the virus continued to spread, I felt the need to contribute as a pharmacist. After all, helping the migrant workers during a time when they need it the most is a meaningful way to show gratitude to those who have helped to build our nation. Since April, I’ve been working at the Westlite Papan and JTC [email protected] dormitories where I prepare and dispense medications.
When I told my parents of my decision, they were worried for my safety. They questioned me on the working conditions and infection control measures but never once did they try to dissuade me. Fortunately, my family has always been supportive of my decisions and agreed to let me join the dormitory medical team.
We started off as a small team and had to adapt to fill up missing roles on the ground such as registration, queue control and swabbing. In May, I was placed in charge of the operations management within the medical post. This entailed liaising with the dormitory operator, the Forward Assurance and Support Team (or FAST team, consisting of officers from the army, police force and Ministry of Manpower), auxiliary police officers and bus drivers to manage the swabbing and recording of positive cases.
Working in the heat without air conditioning while wearing the full Personal Protective Equipment was physically challenging. However, the thought of giving up has never crossed my mind. Processes have also been constantly changed to keep up with the fluidity of the situation. I tell myself to keep an open mind and keep track of changes so that we are prepared to face any circumstances.
We have doctors, nurses and allied health professionals in our team. An open mind and altruistic heart have enabled us to cooperate and solve problems. For example, we had a patient who had hypertension and required self-monitoring of blood pressure. Our medical social worker and the dormitory operation team assisted in the financial aspect while the pharmacy and nursing team taught the patient how to use a blood pressure monitor and record his readings.
I am Alexandra Hospital Senior Pharmacist Chan Shi Mun. Amidst reassuring the workers and tending to their medical needs, the smiles on their faces wash away my tiredness and give meaning to my job, comforting me and spurring me to go on.